Why Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE vs Taylor 214CE? You might be asking that question right after you read the title. And, yes, it’s between an Epiphone and a Taylor.
Epiphones are generally cheaper, but Taylors are more on the expensive side. So, today, it’s exciting to compare the cheaper Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE versus the more expensive Taylor 214CE. You’ll get to know their specifications, playability and the sound of each acoustic-electric.
Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE Overview
You already know that Epiphone is the more affordable cousin of Gibson. As a Gibson subsidiary, you can still expect good things from Epiphone guitars, even at a much cheaper price. A vintage-looking Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE Acoustic-Electric Guitar will capture your attention.
From the rich warm finish of the Sitka Spruce top to the rich mahogany back and sides, the Masterbilt is hard to snob. To complete the aged façade, it has a rosewood fretboard and bridge. It has a satin-finished mahogany neck with SlimTaper D profile.
This is a 20-fret dreadnought with the standard 25.5-inch scale length. From the material to the construction, all contribute to the vintage appeal of the Masterbilt. It has Epiphone’s offset “haircut” headstock with nice stickpin inlay and Grover Sta-Tites nickel tuners. You missed the electronics?
Yes, the Masterbilt has sophisticated modern electronics onboard — a complete balance between the vintage design and the modern electronics system. It has the eSonic preamp with different controls for more versatility.
You can see the slider for blending the pickups easily, volume, knob and tuner, and phase switches. Additionally, you’ll get two Shadow pickups — a soundhole-mounted NanoMag magnetic pickup and an undersaddle NanoFlex bridge pickup.
Taylor 214CE Overview
Taylor has good acoustic guitars, and one of which is the Taylor 214CE. It’s made with top-notched technology, just like how other Taylor guitars are made. It has solid Sitka Spruce with layered rosewood back and sides. You know that Spruce is a good material and the fact that it’s solid, not a laminate, makes it offer more resonance.
It’s a single-cutaway with a neck made of Sapele, polished and not glossed. It has ebony fretboard which makes it easier to surf up and down the fretboard. Like the Masterbilt, it also has the standard 25.5-inch scale length, which felt normal to play. It has also 20 frets, chrome buttons, and Elixir Phosphor Bronze light strings.
As an acoustic-electric guitar, Taylor 214CE is also fitted with Expression System 2 electronics. It features Taylor’s very own behind-the-saddle-pickup with custom-designed “professional audio”-grade preamp. The pickup system has three unique positions with calibrated pickup sensors to deliver a more versatile acoustic sound range.
Sine the Masterbilt has excellent craftsmanship, you can play different tunings without making the guitar unstable. The neck, which is glued in place at 14th fret to make it easy and comfortable to play. Hence, it’s a great fit for fingerstyle and flatpicking. It has amazing action with a thin neck, so it’s really very comfortable.
For Taylor, you can adjust the truss rod and lower the action to mimic the string height of an electric guitar. It’s nice to play and you can easily adjust it to your preferred string action. Ebony is a great material for the fretboard, plus the neck is well-polished, so it’s very smooth to the hand.
Since the stock strings are great for both acoustic-electric guitars, they stay in tune even for frequent daily use. There isn’t so much difference in the playability of the two, but Taylor could be an advantage because of the adjustable truss rod.
If not on the playability, perhaps, there’s a great difference between the two in terms of the sound. The Masterbilt is made of all solid body material, while Taylor has a solid top with laminate back and sides. Then, the Masterbilt has two pickups, while Taylor only has one. You may check this YouTube video to get an easy comparison between these two in the sound department:
From the video, from personal experience and solicited reviews, it’s clear that the Masterbilt has a fuller and richer tone than the Taylor. Of course, it’s all thanks to the solid body design. When unplugged, it has a good blend with mellowness from the Mahogany back and sides.
Taylor has more mid-range tones. The solid spruce top and the laminate mahogany back and sides combination deliver that bright tone with more clarity. You can hear everything and the tone is well projected.
You can also attribute the sound difference to the bracing patterns of these guitars. The Masterbilt has an X-bracing, while the Taylor has forward-shifted scalloped X bracing. Thus, they differ in the volume and projection, as well.
Given the playability and the sound comparison, you have your choice on your head now. Is it the Masterbilt or the Taylor? But, as mentioned, Taylor is more expensive than the Masterbilt, like around a few hundred dollars difference.
Taylor has a line of proven and tested quality acoustic guitars, they may not be cheaper, but they are better in terms of reliability and durability. On the other hand, Epiphone is known to produce cheaper guitars, but this doesn’t mean low quality, as modeled by the Masterbilt. So, they both have value for the money you invested in them.
Players have different preferences and that includes the kind of guitar they want to have. The comparison between the cheaper Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE and the more expensive Taylor 214CE makes it clear that cheaper doesn’t always mean low-quality.
In terms of playability, they are head-to-head, this means that both of them are well constructed and designed for better performance. For the sound, the Masterbilt is richer and has more volume, while Taylor is bright. Although none is better than the other, it seems like Masterbilt is a good choice for people who want a cheaper, yet great-sounding guitar.